What are CW Lasers?
A Continuous-Wave laser or CW Laser is a type of laser that emits a laser beam continuously (i.e. it is not pulsed). Continuous Wave lasers are continuously pumped and continuously emit light. These lasers can operate in both single and multiple modes.
CW lasers are classified into five categories based on the active gain medium such as gas lasers, solid-state lasers, dye lasers, chemical lasers, and semiconductor lasers. All these lasers can also emit light in a pulsed wave mode. This depends on the type of material used in the gain medium and technology, these laser devices will emit either CW light or pulsed laser. The pumping technique used by CW lasers can be electrical pumping, optical pumping, or chemical pumping. CW lasers are used in laser drilling, laser cutting, laser welding, automotive, aerospace, electronics, semiconductor & microelectronics industries, medical sector, and high-resolution spectroscopy applications.
Features of CW Lasers:
- They support single-mode/multi-mode operation
- They are available in tuneable/non-tunable wavelength options.
- They are available in fiber-coupled/non-fiber-coupled options.
- Based on the technology they are developed.
- The CW solid-state laser (DPSS) lasers operate from deep UV (200-300 nm) to the infrared range. The CW dye laser (SSDL) and CW gas laser operate from the UV region to the infrared range. The CW semiconductor lasers operate from 405 nm to the infrared region.
A CW laser emits laser power
Specifications of CW Lasers:
Wavelength: Represents the wavelength of laser light emitted from a CW laser. The CW solid-state laser (DPSS) lasers can have the wavelength range from deep UV (i.e.,300 to 200 nm) to Infrared range. The CW dye laser (SSDL) can have the wavelength range from UV m to Infrared range, and the wavelength of CW gas lasers can vary from UV to IR region (10600 nm). Also, the wavelength of CW semiconductor lasers can vary from 405 nm to the infrared region.
Tunable: Represents the wavelength tunability of the CW lasers. These lasers are available both in tuneable and non-tuneable options.
Fiber-coupled: The CW lasers are available both in fiber couple or non-fiber coupled options.
Laser color: The CW lasers are available in multiple color options across a wide range of wavelengths.
Gain medium type: They can use Solid, Gas or Semiconductor gain mediums
Laser gain medium: Usually, the gain medium of a CW solid-state laser can be Nd: YAG/ /Nd: glass/Yb: YAG. The CW fiber lasers use the Yb: fiber as the gain medium. Also, the gain medium of a CW gas laser may be the He:Ne / CO/CO2/ Hydrogen/Nitrogen/ F2/ ArF/ KrF/ XeCl/ XeF/noble gas/ CH4/ H2S/ NH3/…,etc. In addition, the gain medium of CW dye laser (SSDL) can be Ti: Sapphire. Finally, the CW semiconductor lasers use the semiconducting materials, for example, GaAs/InGaAs/ GaAlAs/ GaN and other semiconducting materials.
Power: Represents the power output of the CW lasers. The CW lasers are available from low power range (mw) to high power laser (in kilowatts range). For example, the power range of CW diode lasers is in mw, and the CW CO2 lasers can have power range in the order of kilowatts.
Beam quality factor (M2): It is the measure of beam quality.
Mode: Represents the mode of operation of laser beam. The CW lasers are available in single-mode and multi-mode operation.
Polarization: Represents the polarization mode of light. The CW lasers can be horizontally/vertically polarized.
Power supply: It can be a DC/AC power supply. It is represented in Volts (V).
Beam diameter: Represents the beam diameter in mm.
Beam divergence: Represents the divergence of the laser beam. Usually, it is represented in milliradian (mrad).
GoPhotonics has listed CW lasers from the leading laser manufacturers and made them searchable by specification. Narrow down on alignment lasers by Wavelength, Power, Color, and other relevant parameters.